Letters From Here

The Abduction by Paul Cezanne (1867)

Idaho Statesman Letter to the Editor:

Regarding your article today (AP) that the prosecutor has charged a young woman with grand theft for a lousy $62, I’ve got to say I’m appalled.  Actually, “outraged” would be better put.  To quote your article: Idaho code says if someone steals property three or more times in a sequence that has an aggregate value of over $50, that person can be charged with grand theft.”  You know, I don’t mind living in a police state if I’m rich enough to be protected from it–but really, I thought we were better than this.  We fought and died to defeat the evil of fascism during WWII only to let it flourish in our midst?  And to let it live in our own hearts?  Granted, those who work hard for what they’ve got have every right to despise thievery, but there does come a point where anger turns into insanity.  Has our anger done that to us?  I really hope we’re better than that…at least in our great state of Idaho.

Notes From There

GLBT rally at the Idaho Statehouse, June 16th, 2012


“The unexamined life is not worth living.”  Socrates

I know when I get in a funk I don’t want to look at anything but my own misery; I only look at my life through the lens darkly.  I guess that’s what friends are for.  When I finally do notice them, they remind me that it’s a good life when you’ve got friends.  They help me examine my life through different eyes.

Notes From There


“Ruin and recovery are both from within.”  Epictetus

I remember after my motorcycle accident, there I was, hanging by my leg from a stirrup above me in my hospital bed when I came to.  The doctor said it was broken in so many places amputation might be a better idea and, for the next few days I struggled in despair–just about to give in.  But when the thought of being maimed really hit me, I told the doctor I wanted to keep it for sentimental reasons, even if it wouldn’t work.  And plus I hinted I’d crawl out of that hospital if he tried to cut it off!  That was the same stubborness that enabled me to eventually recover the use of it, get back on my horse (i.e. my motorcycle) and to also learn my own value from within.

Notes From There


Photograph from the Library of Congress

“You have no idea how big the other’s troubles are.”  B. C. Forbes

I like to gripe about the rich and powerful because they’re a convenient target.  There’s always some human foible or excess they’re usually guilty of, and I know many are either jealous of their money or struggling economically.  But, since my own father was a banker, I also know there’s quite a bit more to that picture, too. He had a large family to care for, he had a whole community of farmers and homeowners whose debts he was ultimately responsible for–and whose economic fate he often held in his hands.  And, to top it all off, it seemed that everybody–including my young self–was always ready to criticize him or rejoice in his misery.  Now, when I think back on his eventual destruction, I’m reminded of just how closely connected and vulnerable we truly are.  We’re all in this together and we need to remember that.  Thank you so much, Dad.

Notes From There

The Rose Garden at Julia Davis Park, Boise, Idaho. (Actually the fake blue water looks okay…undrinkable…but kinda neat.)


“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.  Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”. Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

I remember back when I quit my flunky sales job at the furniture store to work at my own furniture repair business full time.  It wasn’t an easy decision because there was a lot of security in having steady employment and I had a family to support.  But then after I took that single leap of faith–and a pretty bold move I thought–I never looked back.  Later, the magic was that my former boss not only subcontracted me to do his customer service work, I also got sales commission floor time whenever I minded the store for him.  He now treated me as an equal in the business and, I swear, it was just magical how simply going from employee to being self-employed changed everything.  All because he was now in competition for my time rather than the owner of it.

Notes From There

Photographed by Guy Mills (Natl. Geographic)


“One who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; one who does not ask a question remains a fool forever.”  Chinese Proverb

They say don’t ask dumb questions, don’t rock the boat, it’s all good.  Well, I think that attitude comes from getting so stuck in one’s own trip you forget that other’s have opinions. Whether it’s on the job or in the classroom, I’ve always found it’s bettter to force the question out–even at the risk of a little conflict.  Thus, avoiding the absolute embarassing moment that proves, once and for all time, not only to them but also to yourself, that you, indeed, prefer others sitting on your head!


“Knowledge is of no value unless you put it into practice.”  Anton Chekov (Russian playwright and master of the short story)

If I don’t use what I’ve learned, why should I bother to remember anything at all?  My mother would always stop us squabbling kids with, “Christ says to forgive and forget.” Boy howdy, how that last part did hurt!  Most of whatever I did to my brothers was based upon clear memory and pure retaliation.  That was my well of knowledge.  And now this Jesus Christ was kicking my butt with lessons.  Well, as I grew into “Christianity” I finally got the big picture.  I realized I could forget the anger I felt toward Roy and Vern, but that I’d still be able to kick their butts teaching them lessons!

Notes From There

Graffiti is so rare in Boise it successfully offers some artistic diversity here.


“The greatest barrier to success is the fear of failure.”  Sven Goran Eriksson

As a boy I remember crawling on my hands and knees to the edge of a very scary diving board.  Why I was even there was on a dare from some smirky brat who wouldn’t leave me alone.  Trembling with fear, I peered over the edge with my skinny arms now wrapped around the board.  Voices were hollering dully from below, but I barely heard them over my prayer to God.  That was the first time I ever dived off a diving board–or should say fell off it.  But then after I realized the landing wasn’t so bad after all, my falls turned to real dives, and my dives to flips and cannonballs.

Notes From There

Dancer With A Bouquet Bowing by Edgar Degas (1877)


“There is often less danger in the things we fear than in the things we desire.”  John Carlton Collins

I remember when I was a young boy walking to school I was constantly on guard for some large bullying dog way-laying me.  And so I was prudent to hide sticks and stones at strategic points along the way just for protection.  But, once at school, there loomed yet an even greater menace: there would always be that same pretty face creeping into my mind trying to waylay me from my studies, too.  To this day I’m not sure which was worse: the danger of getting bit by a big dog or being bit by love and hurt forever after by that doggone LeAnn Gifford!